How active are we? Levels of routine physical activity in children and adults

B. Livingstone, P. J. Robson, J. M W Wallace, M. C. McKinley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The accurate measurement of physical activity is fraught with problems in adults, but more especially in children because they have more complex and multi-dimensional activity patterns. In addition, the results of different studies are often difficult to interpret and compare, because of the diversity of methodological approaches, differences in data analysis and reporting, and the adoption of varying definitions of what constitutes an appropriate level of activity. Furthermore, inactivity is seldom quantified directly. Although there exists an extensive literature documenting the health benefits of regular physical activity in adults, activity-health relationships in children are not clear-cut. Current recommendations reinforce the concept of health-related activity, accumulating 30 min moderate-intensity exercise on at least 5 d/week (adults) and 1 h moderate-intensity exercise/d (children). Evidence suggests a high prevalence of inactivity in adults, but whether or not inactivity is increasing cannot be assessed currently. Similarly, no definite conclusions are justified about either the levels of physical activity of children, or whether these are sufficient to maintain and promote health. Data to support the belief that activity levels in childhood track into adulthood are weak. Inactivity is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, but causality remains to be established. In children there is strong evidence to demonstrate a dose-response relationship between the prevalence and incidence of obesity and time spent viewing television. Future research should focus on refining methodology for physical activity assessment to make it more sensitive to the different dimensions and contexts of activity in different age-groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-701
Number of pages21
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Volume62
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003

Fingerprint

Exercise
Health
Obesity
Television
Insurance Benefits
Causality
Weight Gain
Research Design
Age Groups
Incidence

Keywords

  • Adults
  • Children
  • Exercise
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

How active are we? Levels of routine physical activity in children and adults. / Livingstone, B.; Robson, P. J.; Wallace, J. M W; McKinley, M. C.

In: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, Vol. 62, No. 3, 08.2003, p. 681-701.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Livingstone, B. ; Robson, P. J. ; Wallace, J. M W ; McKinley, M. C. / How active are we? Levels of routine physical activity in children and adults. In: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2003 ; Vol. 62, No. 3. pp. 681-701.
@article{9ca223568f7948cc90c909a1f1bb7496,
title = "How active are we? Levels of routine physical activity in children and adults",
abstract = "The accurate measurement of physical activity is fraught with problems in adults, but more especially in children because they have more complex and multi-dimensional activity patterns. In addition, the results of different studies are often difficult to interpret and compare, because of the diversity of methodological approaches, differences in data analysis and reporting, and the adoption of varying definitions of what constitutes an appropriate level of activity. Furthermore, inactivity is seldom quantified directly. Although there exists an extensive literature documenting the health benefits of regular physical activity in adults, activity-health relationships in children are not clear-cut. Current recommendations reinforce the concept of health-related activity, accumulating 30 min moderate-intensity exercise on at least 5 d/week (adults) and 1 h moderate-intensity exercise/d (children). Evidence suggests a high prevalence of inactivity in adults, but whether or not inactivity is increasing cannot be assessed currently. Similarly, no definite conclusions are justified about either the levels of physical activity of children, or whether these are sufficient to maintain and promote health. Data to support the belief that activity levels in childhood track into adulthood are weak. Inactivity is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, but causality remains to be established. In children there is strong evidence to demonstrate a dose-response relationship between the prevalence and incidence of obesity and time spent viewing television. Future research should focus on refining methodology for physical activity assessment to make it more sensitive to the different dimensions and contexts of activity in different age-groups.",
keywords = "Adults, Children, Exercise, Obesity, Physical activity, Tracking",
author = "B. Livingstone and Robson, {P. J.} and Wallace, {J. M W} and McKinley, {M. C.}",
year = "2003",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1079/PNS2003291",
language = "English",
volume = "62",
pages = "681--701",
journal = "Proceedings of the Nutrition Society",
issn = "0029-6651",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - How active are we? Levels of routine physical activity in children and adults

AU - Livingstone, B.

AU - Robson, P. J.

AU - Wallace, J. M W

AU - McKinley, M. C.

PY - 2003/8

Y1 - 2003/8

N2 - The accurate measurement of physical activity is fraught with problems in adults, but more especially in children because they have more complex and multi-dimensional activity patterns. In addition, the results of different studies are often difficult to interpret and compare, because of the diversity of methodological approaches, differences in data analysis and reporting, and the adoption of varying definitions of what constitutes an appropriate level of activity. Furthermore, inactivity is seldom quantified directly. Although there exists an extensive literature documenting the health benefits of regular physical activity in adults, activity-health relationships in children are not clear-cut. Current recommendations reinforce the concept of health-related activity, accumulating 30 min moderate-intensity exercise on at least 5 d/week (adults) and 1 h moderate-intensity exercise/d (children). Evidence suggests a high prevalence of inactivity in adults, but whether or not inactivity is increasing cannot be assessed currently. Similarly, no definite conclusions are justified about either the levels of physical activity of children, or whether these are sufficient to maintain and promote health. Data to support the belief that activity levels in childhood track into adulthood are weak. Inactivity is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, but causality remains to be established. In children there is strong evidence to demonstrate a dose-response relationship between the prevalence and incidence of obesity and time spent viewing television. Future research should focus on refining methodology for physical activity assessment to make it more sensitive to the different dimensions and contexts of activity in different age-groups.

AB - The accurate measurement of physical activity is fraught with problems in adults, but more especially in children because they have more complex and multi-dimensional activity patterns. In addition, the results of different studies are often difficult to interpret and compare, because of the diversity of methodological approaches, differences in data analysis and reporting, and the adoption of varying definitions of what constitutes an appropriate level of activity. Furthermore, inactivity is seldom quantified directly. Although there exists an extensive literature documenting the health benefits of regular physical activity in adults, activity-health relationships in children are not clear-cut. Current recommendations reinforce the concept of health-related activity, accumulating 30 min moderate-intensity exercise on at least 5 d/week (adults) and 1 h moderate-intensity exercise/d (children). Evidence suggests a high prevalence of inactivity in adults, but whether or not inactivity is increasing cannot be assessed currently. Similarly, no definite conclusions are justified about either the levels of physical activity of children, or whether these are sufficient to maintain and promote health. Data to support the belief that activity levels in childhood track into adulthood are weak. Inactivity is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity, but causality remains to be established. In children there is strong evidence to demonstrate a dose-response relationship between the prevalence and incidence of obesity and time spent viewing television. Future research should focus on refining methodology for physical activity assessment to make it more sensitive to the different dimensions and contexts of activity in different age-groups.

KW - Adults

KW - Children

KW - Exercise

KW - Obesity

KW - Physical activity

KW - Tracking

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0141523224&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0141523224&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1079/PNS2003291

DO - 10.1079/PNS2003291

M3 - Article

C2 - 14692604

AN - SCOPUS:0141523224

VL - 62

SP - 681

EP - 701

JO - Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

JF - Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

SN - 0029-6651

IS - 3

ER -